According to Mark Craig of the Star Tribune, Vikings center Garrett Bradbury could lose his starting position. Despite handling all of the first-team reps during training camp thus far, head coach Kevin O’Connell acknowledged that the NC State product is not guaranteed the job.
Garrett Bradbury’s difficulties with pass protection are largely to blame. His pass-blocking grades from Pro Football Focus throughout his first three years in the league have been last, last, and second-to-worst among centers.
Garrett Bradbury is a more skilled run blocker, and O’Connell made sure to highlight this while also pointing out that his pass protection needs improvement.
Kevin O’Connell stated, “[Pass-blocking] is where we challenge him every single time; technique, technique. “When his feet are firmly planted, he has a good anchor.
He might be able to support himself, I believe. He has the technique, in my opinion, to hold up. I believe there are certain things we can do to try and limit some of the [one-on-one] scenarios by the way we plan out some fronts.
Bradbury has started each game for the Vikings since going pro in 2019, with the exception of four missing games in 2021. His troubles in protecting the quarterback led Minnesota to decline his fifth-year option for 2023, making 2022 a platform year. He was selected in the first round of that year’s draft (No. 18 overall).
Bradbury’s ability to make money is therefore in jeopardy. A significant improvement in his performance might result in a lucrative multi-year deal, whereas a downgrade might force him into free agency after spending an entire season as a reserve and raising serious concerns about his ability to serve as the starting pivot.
Although Chris Reed has never started a regular season game at centre, Austin Schlottmann (seven career starts) and Chris Reed (29 career starts) might step in if he ends up giving up his starting position. The second team’s centre has been Schlottman.
Kevin O’Connell believes Reed is capable of handling the responsibilities of a centre, but it seems likely that he would prefer Bradbury to step up and take the position.
Despite being regularly burnt by the Vikings’ interior pass rush throughout the first several weeks of camp, he has yet to accomplish it.